Sunday, 12 October 2014

The lavender farm and distillery

 
Following on from the most expensive perfume in the world, here's my idea of scent heaven. In the hamlet of Les Agnels near Buoux in the Grand Luberon hills, lavender and the hardier lavandin crop is gathered and distilled in the traditional way to produce essential oils. For those of you who enjoyed the descriptions of the Distillerie Musset in The Lantern and The Sea Garden, here is the very essence of a modern version of the perfume and soap factory set in the lavender fields. 


Sheaves of lavender - and lavandin - are brought to the steam vats for the extraction process to begin. (Don't you just love the colour of the vats?) Some interesting local colour, too, in the protest sign propped against the far wall, saying, "Lavender is not a chemical product. No to EU ruling." Quite right, too.


Here is the basic product, after vaporisation and collection of the droplets of scented oil: no frills and a hint of the medicinal.


In The Lantern, Madame Musset was a herbalist, too, with a knowledge of the medicinal properties of natural oils. And here at Les Agnels, you can find the same old cures for ailments that she would have produced. A laurel leaf preparation for viral and dental afflictions, for example; lemon balm (Melissa) for migraine and digestive troubles.

 
Perfumed soaps, of course, and other beauty creams and tonics...



Then we get to the perfumes, lovely fresh scents made with lavender, and Luberon flowers, fig, amber resin, and a personal favourite for hot summer days, a Green Tea eau de toilette that manages to be light and fresh and sweet at the same time.

 
 
These fragrances are particularly expensive - in a Provence context, you could have two for the price of a bottle of wine in a restaurant, and the scent will last longer!
 

Then there are the room scents, all given names that lift the senses and transport you just to read them: Under the Lime Trees, In the Shade of the Fig Tree, A Wander through the Garrigue.

 
For more information and remote sensory indulgence, you can visit the Les Agnels website here. And for those who are entranced by the very thought of this place, the good news is that there are a number of holiday gites available for rent in the hamlet.

5 comments:

Nadege said...

I love Neroli mixed with some sweet orange essence. I was trying them yesterday at Whole Foods and was wondering what amazing concoctions Marthe would make. Few years back, I visited the "musee de la parfumerie" in Grasse and was really impressed. It is a fun thing to do.

Libby said...

Several years ago I went to the lavender distillery up in Nyons. Amazing. And, we just got back from Albuquerque, New Mexico and stayed at an inn that produces lavender. They have their own (small) distillery vat. Of course, the season was over, but I had chosen that Inn for the lavender farm and store (and lovely, lovely rooms!) and was not disappointed. You can read on the blog this week!
And, Deborah, I finished The Sea Garden and loved it!!! I liked it even more than The Lantern. Very very good work….and now, what is next? Can't wait!

Cottage Garden said...

I adore the scent of lavender. There is a very good lavender farm in Norfolk which has a similar distillery.

I loved The Lantern Deborah. Have yet to read The Sea Garden ...must remedy that very soon.

Jeanne
x

Marcheline said...

Lavender is my go-to bedroom fragrance. I sprinkle it on my mattress when I change the sheets, and spray it in the air.

I also love Jo Malone's "Amber and Lavender" perfume. I buy the little sample sizes on ebay and wear it almost every day. I trade it off with "Absinthe Verte" by Kilian, which you recommended to me, Deborah.

This place you tell of is awesome. I'd love to live next door to a place like that. Imagine how good the whole place smells!

Muriel Jacques said...

I could smell the lavender from my keyboard, Deborah...Thank you!

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